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High-rise tech

Leading-edge technology is helping overcome the challenges of keeping people safe and secure in high-rise office buildings says Mike George, Director and Founder MyTAG

Thousands of people pour into and out of high-rise office buildings throughout the world each day, and everyone must be kept safe and secure. Two of the biggest challenges in achieving this are security guard patrol management and ensuring that all fire and safety equipment complies with inspection and maintenance regulations. Technology based on near field communications (NFC) and trusted identities, such as MyTAG, can be used to automate and improve both processes.

Guard management is only part of the security manager’s problem. Keys must be tracked, guards must visit all their checkpoints as efficiently as possible, and there must be a process for auditing these services. An identity solution that combines trusted NFC tags, and a cloud-based authentication system that cannot be copied or cloned, can be used to automate each of these process integrating key/asset management, security patrol and contractor services into a single solution.

The resulting system enables secure proof-of-presence with frictionless authentication while delivering more accurate and actionable information in real time. It also can be deployed with standard NFC-enabled smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.

To implement an automated key management solution, an organisation can use HID NFC tags to provide a unique identity to each key and remove all paper from the process. To check out a physical key, a user first taps a tablet, or other mobile device, with the NFC tag and enters the user’s contact details. The user is then notified when the key is due to be returned, and again taps the NFC reader to check it back in. If the key is not returned an automated reminder is sent.

Automated key management significantly reduces the amount of time and resources spent managing and replacing lost or misplaced keys. The organisation will know where each key is in real time, which dramatically improves building security.

To manage guard tours and patrols, various tag formats can be placed at each patrol checkpoint throughout the building, with heavier duty tags used to designate outdoor checkpoints. Security guards then simply tap each checkpoint visited with their NFC enabled smartphone. The system identifies each checkpoint by name, and automatically uploads timestamp information and updates databases in real time, providing digital proof that a security patrol took place at the proper location, and at the correct time. The time between checkpoints can be monitored in real time from the control room to ensure guard safety. If a guard encounters an incident, the smartphone can be used to generate a detailed report in real time, including photo and video evidence, linked to a dashboard in the control room to allow escalation when required by procedures. A simple tap is the only training needed to ensure effective system deployment.

Automated guard tour management makes it possible for guards to deliver more timely and detailed reporting, while reducing how long it takes for each individual security patrol. Facilities managers currently using these systems also note improvement in the management of their contract employee partners.

Similar efficiencies are realised when trusted tags and authentication platforms are combined with maintenance management software to simplify fire/safety equipment inspections and prove compliance. To use these systems, a technician simply taps his or her smartphone or other NFC device to a tag that has been embedded or attached next to the piece of fire or safety equipment. Each tap provides digital proof of each inspection report, and provides the technician with easy online access to service requests and automated maintenance records.

The same tap also verifies the identity of the field worker or technician, and ensures that the person’s skillset or credentials align with the qualifications needed to service specific equipment, and that the correct person is servicing that piece of equipment. All of the information is recorded digitally in a secure cloud environment.

There are many benefits with this type of system. Firstly, it automates the maintenance and inspection process, reduces field inspection time, and accurately reports with proof of compliance, resulting in a quantifiable cost savings from a reduction in labour costs. Additionally, work orders are completed faster and there is an overall reduction in the number of onsite visits. Both of these benefits help increase overall cost savings. Tags can perform in a variety of environments without compromising readability, and are flexible enough to adhere to multiple types of surfaces, shapes and sizes, including metal and rounded objects like alarm and control valves.

The ability to link video or documents to a specific tag, attached to a unique item, provides the auditor with detailed information about the item inspected electronically.

Demand is growing for cloud-based authentication platforms that add trust to “proof of presence” applications to enhance building safety and security. Facilities managers can accurately track security, engineering and cleaning teams and completion of their daily activities, by exception, whilst team members can report any problems, damage or security issues throughout the building instantly. In addition, manual sign-in processes can be replaced, reducing the workload of the facilities manager.

Organisations can also tag fire and safety equipment to connect it to the Internet, so that technicians can use their mobile devices to tap the tag and access cloud-based applications, track activities, and automate all of the previously manual processes involved with making sure these assets are ready for an emergency. From every guard checkpoint to every piece of fire and safety equipment, trusted tags and cloud authentication platforms help make buildings both smarter and safer.

For more information, please visit www.mytag.io

About Sarah OBeirne

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